I guess I thought I would write out of my comfort zone...and i just love IHxOP cause I'm a sucker...

So I guess this is my try at something different ...I dunno if any of you will like it or not but I didn't know where to go with this fluff crack that was in my head...and the sparkling's name..Oh lordy trying to find something I like was awful.


Chapter one: The pod

Optimus stared wide optic-ed at ratchet as he examined the pod on the berth in the medical bay. "Do you know if it's alive?" His nervous question garnered a skewed look from the medic.

"Not yet…" he said and gathered up a few items. Ratchet's fingers transformed into the proper tools and Optimus stood back allowing the good doctor to work freely. Ratchet slowly ran his hand across the small pod. "Primus help me…" he breathed a sigh and twisted his fingers near the lock of the stasis pod. He prayed that the creature within was alive.

Optimus could not help but catch the air in his intakes, just waiting. As the lid of the pod retracted. The tiny body inside did not move. It was layed out quietly head tilted down to it's chest, hands cross it's stomach. "It's a protoform...a very young protoform...it's practically new." Ratchet said and grabbed a scanner. "Ok..ok..yes…good." he tossed the scanner aside and transformed his fingers back into his sensitive hands. "Optimus clear a path..." Optimus stepped farther back out of Ratchet's way. The doctor lifted the tiny body up and moved it to the table closer to Optimus.

"It's alive?" optimus asked again.

"Oh yes." Ratchet almost smiled. "young thing." He said putting a hand to the protoform's head. "mechling." He said.

"A mech." It seemed a quiet sigh of relief.

"Let's get him checked out then I'll pull him out of stasis." Ratchet said and grabbed another scanner "Optimus hand me that over there." Optimus turned and lifted the small device and took gave it to Ratchet. "thank you." He said and scanned over the body. The little body looked sound Ratchet could see no problem with it. "He looks good Optimus…it's the youngest thing I've seen in a while." Ratchet turned looking up at his leader.

"I know…it's been a long time since one so young was created." He let his chest plates fall. His processor raced, they didn't know where the little one had come from. The pod had made landfall about 50 miles from their base and Ironhide and Bumblebee had brought it back after their scouting mission.

"I'm ready to wake the little one up…" Ratchet said looking at Optimus "Did you want anyone else here?" the question was serious.

Optimus thought a moment his glossa touched his dentals as he thought it through "I do not need him here." He said finally. "Awaken the sparkling."

"Yes sir." Ratchet said. The Scanner crossed over the little body and it's blue optics lit brightly. It's body rose as it's intakes fluttered to life. It's mouth opened and it's dentals began clicking together. The little one looked around and seemed scared a moment. "Hush little one." Ratchet put a hand to his chest. "It's ok." He pushed the little one down gently. "Shhh…quiet."

"TCK TCK TCK!" the little one kept clicking his dentals together.

"Shhh." Ratchet repeated. "You are safe little one."

"Ratchet?" Optimus stepped forward, the picture of the massive robot sent shivers down the backstrut of the sparkling. The sparkling shivered on the berth.

"He's alright." Ratchet sighed quietly. "You're alright." He repeated to the little one. "Optic lenses look fine…his servos are fine…spark chamber seems normal." He said quietly finishing his final scan "one Healthy little mechling…" Ratchet said almost pleased with himself. "His creators did a marvelous job…very healthy." Ratchet put down his scanner and put his hands under the mechling and stood him up on his stabilizing servos. "Let's see if you can stand up."

Optimus on one side, Ratchet the other. The little one stood pretty well on his two legs looking between the mechs around him. "The base will be a buzz." Optimus said as the little one took a shaky step forward.

"Once bumblebee finds out …that's for sure." Ratchet said in agreement. "Who will look after the little one?" ratchet was almost insinuating Optimus do it.

"We will have to see."

"He needs structure …" Ratchet started "and as you and Ironhide are the only bonded pair on base…."

"Ratchet." Optimus sighed.

"You know I'm right…" Ratchet folded his arms across his chest and the little one was already down on his knee joints playing with a scanner. "Hey there…" Ratchet lifted up the scanner "That's not a toy." He said to the child.

The little one whined and reached for it again in Ratchet's arms. "I do not think so youngling." Optimus put a hand around the little one and lifted him up in his hands. "Hello there…" Optimus said as the little one turned over in his hands. The sparklings small hands touched Optimus' mouth-plate. Optimus smiled inwardly and pulled his head back removing the plate. The little one fell back into his hands. "It's ok…" Optimus said. "I won't harm you."

"He's taken to you already." Ratchet mused and turned cleaning up his scanners and tools. "I'll put his pod in storage."

"Understood…" Optimus smirked at the little one optics not moving away "am I free to take him out of the medical bay?"

"Yes, but bring him back in a little while and we'll get him some energon." Ratchet smiled "He's alright for now..."

"Very well." Optimus turned and held the little one with one hand to his chassis. "Let's go see what Ironhide thinks of you little one." Optimus turned and slowly strode out of the medical bay with the sparkling. The little one's eyes darted every which way; he was taking in a lot of information all at one time.

Optimus almost regretted walking into ironhide's workshop "Scrap." Ironhide grunted and tossed a piece of equipment over into the trash crate.

"Ironhide…trouble?" Optimus asked quietly. Ironhide looked quickly up from his work station.

"Optimus?" He stood straight now "How did things go with…" he strode around his desk and stopped coming face to face with the little one in Optimus' hands. He instantly regretted his curse a moment before. "Primus...it's such a little thing…" Ironhide said quietly and walked up slowly to Optimus.

Ironhide's first movement toward the little one was slow, deliberate. "He's taking it all in…slowly…I'll take him back to the medical bay in a Cycle or two." Optimus explaned.

"Or two…I suppose…" Ironhide's finger touched on the little one's head and he pet him with one finger. "We're being asked to care for it?" the sparkling churred under the touch.

"We are the only 'family unit' on base." Optimus sighed "I won't make that call without you." He said. "but if Ratchet keeps looking at me like he has been and holding it over my head…"

"Has it been named?" Ironhide asked quietly ignoring the comment about Ratchet.

"No." Optimus wasn't sure what to say after that he just let Ironhide inspect the little one. Ironhide reached out his hands and took the little one from Optimus. The small sparkling clung to the armor on Ironhide's chest and reached up to Ironhide's dimmer right optic.

"It's a scar…its fine." Ironhide smiled to the little one and lifted his arms looking at both and then his back "strong thing…he'll be a soldier for sure…he's got a good build."

"No cannons" Optimus said quietly.

"What?" Ironhide protested and pointed his free finger "That's not fair…"

"You were thinking about it." Optimus said with a soft chuckle and reached a hand out to pet the sparkling again. Ironhide wanted to protest but shook his head. "Well?"

"You want my opinion?" Ironhide blinked his optics once and looked up.

"Always…" Optimus smiled down to the sparkling who clicked his dentals over and over. Optimus laughed softly.

"I guess we can try it out for a while…see how we feel about it." Ironhide looked up to him. "You're terrible." He said to Optimus and then looked back to the little one in his arms who was digging into his armor.

"Why is that?" Optimus asked quietly lifting the little one out of his bonded's arms.

"I would have said no but you brought the little thing here."

"Knew you wouldn't say no…" Optimus smirked as the sparkling started to bang on the windows of his chassis. "Hey there no hitting…it hurts my feelings…" Optimus pulled his hands back away from his windows. The little one churred a soft hurt sound like he was sorry. "It's alright." Optimus assured the sparkling.

"What are we to call it?" Ironhide's question was quiet as he looked at Optimus holding the little creature.

"A name…" Optimus mused "I don't know what to call him."

"Could call him …Little pit slagger." Ironhide suggested it lovingly.

"Ironhide…" Optimus chided his mouth almost gaped.

"I was only kidding." He said quietly stepping closer. Optimus leaned forward and Ironhide put his arms at his elbows drawing him down and their helms contacted. "What shall we call him?" this time Ironhide was serious holding them both.

"I'm not sure." Optimus looked down between them. The little one was standing in Optimus' hand, and grabbing onto both of them ticking his dentals more and more. "Perhaps…hmmm."

Ironhide looked up into his bonded's eyes. "Shadow." He said quietly.

"Why?" Optimus blinked in surprise and gave Ironhide a crossways look.

"He will be raised in a great shadow." Ironhide looked up "Yours…and he should never forget it."

"Ironhide…I do not think." Optimus was about to speak but the little one put his hands on Optimus's mouth preventing him from speaking.

"Sha-doooo" The little one squeeked out the name, and then proceeded to click his dentals. He sat back down between them.

"Shadow it is." Optimus smiled touching the little one's helm."A perfect name."

"Should get him back to Ratchet before the crankcase comes looking for you." Ironhide smirked and slid back from Optimus.

"I should." Optimus agreed and the little one whined and reached for Ironhide. "We'll see ironhide in a little while…we need to go back to Ratchet."

"Sha-dooo" The little one chirped.

"Yes that's who you are now…Shadow." Optimus smiled and looked up "I'll see you in our quarters in a Joor."

"Will the little one be in our room tonight?" Ironhide asked with a smirk.

"I will have to clear it with Ratchet." Optimus said "He's only been up a few Breems…"

"I understand." Ironhide said quietly sitting back behind his desk, which doubled as his workstation. "keep me informed."

"I always do don't I?" Optimus smiled softly. Ironhide nodded and waved him off "In a joor."

"I heard"

"Not a nano-click after." Optimus had been getting at Ironhide for staying late to work on things and overexerting himself.

"Very well Love." Ironhide waved a hand. Optimus smiled at the love part. Now he knew Ironhide was bribing him to get him out.

"Did you both have fun?" Ratchet asked holding up a cube before Optimus. Ratchet had been waiting at the door for the two to return.

"Yes…Ironhide was pleased with him." Optimus affirmed.

"Talk of Cannons?" Ratchet smirked and sat back in his chair.

"Derailed for the meantime…" Optimus chuckled. "Little one tell Ratchet your name."

"Sha-doooo." The little one chirped.

"Shay-do?" Ratchet twisted his optic a bit.

"Shadow." Optimus smiled.

"I'll fetch the black kibble." Ratchet smiled "He won't need it for a few weeks." Ratchet smiled as Optimus held the cube to the little one, Shadow grabbed the edge of the cub and tipped it toward his mouth and began to drink it slowly. "We can make him look just like Ironhide."

"Primus no." Optimus shook his head not taking his hand away from the cube trying to make the sparkling take it down slowly. "I love him, but one is enough." Ratchet smiled "I'll keep him tonight."

"With Ironhide?" Ratchet mused "Are you sure about that?"

"Unless he needs to remain here with you?" The question made ratchet shake his head. "He's free to go with us?"

"Indeed." Ratchet said "We'll have to set up a containment berth…" Ratchet said.

"So if he comes out of recharge he doesn't get away?" Optimus looked up quickly and then back to shadow who looked slightly like he drank too much. Optimus took the cube back it still had a bit in it.

"It's ok Optimus he should be fine for a few days." Ratchet smiled and reached forward taking the cube from Optimus and set it on his desk.

"Would you like to assist me with the berth?" Optimus asked.

"Of course…" Ratchet said and stood he pressed a hand to the comm "First Aid to the medical wing…First Aid." The medic turned "Once he gets here to watch over the medical bay I'll be happy to join you…go on ahead and let him get accustomed to your room." Ratchet nodded and waved them off.

"Would you like to meet some of the Others Shadow?" Optimus looked at the little one who chirped. "Very well." Optimus smiled softly "Come along."

"I'll meet you at your quarters in six breems optimus." Ratchet said as his leader began to leave.

"All right." Optimus' optics were on shadow as he exited the medical bay. The hallways were pretty barren but Optimus stopped looking into the rec room. Jazz and Prowl sat at one of the far tables pretending they didn't feel what they felt for one another.

Optimus stepped inside quietly. "Sha-DOOO!" the little one squealed. Jazz turned his head and Prowl looked past him to Optimus.

"Ah our visitor has awakened." Prowl stood up "Sir."

"At ease…" Optimus sighed

"Indeed…this is Shadow…Shadow ..this is Prowl and Jazz." Optimus sat the sparkling down on the table. Shadow seemed to stay next to Optimus but looked at the two other mechs.

"Powl…jass." He uttered and clapped.

"Very good." Jazz smiled brightly. "Oh Prime he's great."

"Interesting…" Prowl blinked his optics. "Very young."

"Yes…" Optimus smiled down with pride and put a hand to the sparkling's helm.

"What does Ironhide think?" Jazz smiled "O' the little guy?"

"Ironhide named him." Optimus seemed more proud.

"Yeah?" Jazz nodded "Excellent."

"Jazz…" Prowl put a hand on his shoulder "Don't scare the youngling."

"I should be getting him back to our room…we're setting up his berth." Optimus nodded. "You two …" he regarded them both as he lifted Shadow into his arms. "Have a good evening."

Jazz smiled "I can't wait to see Ironhide go soft." He turned to prowl "Training is gonna go so much smoother."

"Or…if the little one keeps them from recharging…it'll be harder." Prowl suggested and went back to his data pad of reports.

"Oh slag…" Jazz hadn't thought of that.

"Watch your language …there are sparklings here now." Prowl shifted his foot against Jazz's leg under the table and gave him a stare. Jazz merely smirked back at him and shook his head.